Kenny Dalglish has been away from Scottish football for too long.
He used to get it.
He was the guy who took the media on a guided tour of the Gallowgate because they twisted his words every which way.
He used to be clear on how things worked up here.
This weekend, he made some comments about referees which display an embarrassing lack of understanding of the subject. He doesn’t have a clue what he’s talking about, if I’m being blunt.
He says he is worried that the SFA’s disciplinary process, which allows the compliance officer to look again at decisions from games, undermines referees and will affect their confidence.
Only somebody abysmally out of touch could make such a bleeding hearts argument on behalf of our officials. They merit additional scrutiny; in fact, their performances demand it.
Referees in Scotland are like a protected species.
They don’t just enjoy the full security of a system which doesn’t allow clubs or club officials to even critique them, but they enjoy immunity from any of the consequences of their mistakes.
It is the clubs and, in particular, the managers who pay the price for their errors, and this obviously includes people being sacked.
To suggest referees are under pressure because some of those mistakes are subject to supervisory review is ludicrous. Many of these “mistakes” are so glaring and ghastly that you cannot even fathom how they are being made legitimately.
Earlier this morning, my old man was sent the transcript of an old interview with Steve Conroy, the former official, who said he did not know a single Celtic fan who had risen to his rank. Not one. On the other hand, he knew plenty of Ibrox club fans who had.
We don’t even have the most basic insurance policy there is; a system wherein officials have to declare these allegiances as a regulatory necessity.
Most importantly – as Auldheid has already written about extensively – the SPFL should have the opportunity to refuse to use Scottish officials and opt instead for refs from other countries, including in England. UEFA competitions are run on the basis that officials do not get to work in games where their nations are represented; this is basic stuff.
I have never understood why this is so feared by people within our game, and by those in the media who have consistently opposed it. What is their basis for that opposition?
That it suggests that our game is corrupt? Maybe it is.
I prefer to frame this as an argument rooted in the small size of Scotland, the knowledge – the fact – that the two vastly best supported clubs in the country come from the same city and that the West of Scotland, where large tracts of their supporters are to be found, is also where many of our referee’s hail from.
We know there are Ibrox fans amongst the ranks of the officials; we even know who some of them are. All the media is doing, all the governing bodies are doing, is kidding themselves on that this is not a real problem. We all know better.
Dalglish apparently doesn’t. He is singing a tune of sympathy for our poor downtrodden officials, as if they aren’t a national embarrassment. Like I said, he’s been away from here for too damned long.